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Siemens to sell mobile phone biz to China - report

Chinese distributor lined up as 'potential buyer'

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Is Germany's Siemens about to do an IBM and flog off a loss-making hardware division to the Chinese?

German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung think so, yesterday reporting on allegations from unnamed company sources that Siemens is pushing through the sale of its mobile phone business. It has already lined up Chinese phone company Ningbo Bird, which distributes Siemens handsets in China, as a potential buyer, the paper claimed.

Siemens' mobile phone operation lost €141m ($187m) in the three months to 30 September 2004, the fourth quarter of the company's 2004 fiscal year. Phone sales totalled €1.25bn ($1.65bn), the same as the year-ago quarter, which then yielded a €14m ($18.5m) profit.

Siemens as a whole saw Q4 sales rise five per cent year on year to €20.83bn ($27.52bn). Net income for the quarter was €654m ($864.1m).

A company spokesman said that no decision had been made on the mobile phone division's sale, but admitted that the company was "looking at all the options".

Last week, IBM announced it was selling its PC division to Chinese computer company Lenovo for $1.25bn. ®

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